Saturday, June 25, 2011

Picnic on the water

Today, Saturday, I went out to the boat to put some items in order and take PICTURES. It was pouring buckets of rain and throwing thunderbolts as I ate breakfast. Luckily, by noontime things had quieted down a bit. As I write this it is raining again but I made good use of the dry afternoon.

Jenny survived the week just fine on the water.

She has made lots of new friends. She took a bit of water in the bilge but its been raining a fair amount so I am not too worried. One of these days I am going to put in an electrical system that can run a bilge pump. Until then I need to visit every week or two to keep the bilge water to a minimum.

First order of business was to eat my picnic lunch in the cockpit while relaxing in my sporta-seat.

Next was to straighten out my genoa.

I figured out during the week that I rigged the jib halyard wrong. There is a fairlead mounted to the mast about a foot below the block for the halyard. I ran the halyard up and through the fairlead and then to the block. That was exactly opposite was I was supposed to do. The halyard was supposed to run straight to the block and then down to the fairlead which creates the necessary angle for the upper swivel on the roller furler to work correctly.

I went out today with the plan of attaching a length of cord to the halyard and then pulling the halyard through leaving the length of cord running through the block. Once I started I realized that this was not going to work. Jenny has an ancient wire-to-rope jib halyard that will certainly get replaced by next spring. The block is only wide enough for the wire to pass through so neither the fitting on the end nor the rope would pass through the block. That scuttled the plans to fix the jib halyard. My only option is going to be to send someone up to disconnect the block. I have a bosun's chair. I have never used a bosun's chair. I would need a willing guinea pig or be the guinea pig. Neither option show much promise. The genoa works, it just looks funny. I might have to live with it for now. At least until I can con someone into helping me. I suppose it is about time I figure out a way to climb a mast.

So, moving on, I installed the full length battens in the mainsail and installed the mainsail on the boat.

That's a new Triton insignia on the mainsail.

Still no sign of my missing sail cover. My sailmaker can make one in a few weeks and gave me a cover that he pulled out of the trashcan. Its worn out, not hideous, and it keeps the sail covered and ready to go so that's an improvement.

I brought out some swatches of Sunbrella to decide on the color for my new (and all future) canvas.

From left to right, Basil, Aspen, Spa, Linen, Parchment. And the winner is... Spa; the middle one. I gave a lot of thought to Basil on the left. I am not a color person but the Basil seemed... stronger. I like the fact that the Spa is more subtle and let's the purple hull color dominate and just provides a nice background. The Basil is a stronger green and I felt it competed with the other colors on the boat for attention. Those were really the only two colors I was considering. I brought the others along as backups. If I wasn't happy with the my first two choices then some sort of light brown/tan that approximated the nonskid colors would certainly be acceptable. I am really happy with the Spa though.

Now curiously, inside I was planning on a dark green for the cushions; something like forest or spruce. But when I held up the Basil I really liked the lighter, brighter look it gave me as opposed to a dark green.

The Spa color on the inside is just too light and doesn't contrast as well with the white overhead.

I am liking the Basil inside. Of course, I am not going to use Sunbrella inside, its texture is too rough, but I think I might try and find something that approximates it.

While writing about colors, I really like how the hull color contrasts with the green water. The photo doesn't really do it justice.

A friend of mine was concerned about my missing burgee and sent me a new one. It is one of the last of the limited editions so I will have to be careful with this one.

Finally, I got out the 409 and cleaned down some of the white surfaces that were looking a little brownish. The V-berth overhead is looking bright and shiny now. Sorry, no photos.

And then it was time to call the launch service and say good-bye.

Salem harbor is a nice safe anchorage. The only downfall to it is that its not really dinghy accessible and you can't see the boats from the shoreline. You can't see her but she is right in the middle of the photo.

Thankfully, Jenny is well protected and has people looking after her all the time.

The plan is to actually sail Jenny tomorrow. If that happens I will post pictures for any non-believers.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Launch 2011

Since I am writing this I must have survived the launch. There were a few glitches that came up that I will explain as the story unfolds but ultimately it was a successful launch.

I continued the prep on Wednesday when I installed the anchor and rode.

That is two rodes of 300 feet and 30 feet of chain each. While cruising in Maine I really loved my 90 feet of chain but its totally unneccesary for daysailing in the local sandy bottomed waters around me. Its still a bit of overkill but I like a little overkill.

As a temporary thing, I used the original V-berth filler and my old V-berth cushions from my 'four hour interior' from the 2005 cruise.

I am reallly not fond of the filler but I didn't want to take the time to cut the cushions and sew the sheets to fit the cutout. Climbing in and out of the filled in V-berth is a pain in my humble opinion. Good for spending the night with an attractive mate but not so good for anything else.

I loaded up a locker with food for the first time instead of tools and materials. Oddly, it was very satisfying to see the locker used for its intended purpose.

I re-used the saloon cushions wrapped in cheap bed sheets from the 2005 cruise as well. Its definitely not a permanent look but it makes it incrementally better inside I think.

Sails and various bits of gear were loaded into the V-berth. I remembered to install the garboard drain. I have only installed the drain once before but the pipe threads are all worn out. The plug does not tighten but instead continues to screw right through the fitting and into the bilge. With the launch the next day I installed the plug with 3M 4200 which I had on hand. I have no idea how much trouble I am going to have getting the plug out in the Fall out but its better than having it come out sooner.

Boat cleaning and checking over everything and cleaning up the mess around the boat consumed the remainder of the day. It was a long day but the boat was ready.

Thursday morning the yard crew were running late so I installed my compass and a ring to attach my safety line too. When sailing alone I like to either be tied to the boat or have a lifejacket on because I have seen the boat self steer before and I know she won't come back to me if I were to go over the side.

The launch happened fast with my helping the launch crew and another person taking pictures. I don't have those pictures so I can' show the boat actually getting wet yet.

And this brings me to my first discovered glitch. The camera was left in the car so no more pictures were taken :-( There is no place for a dinghy in Salem harbor so I left mine behind. Once I launched I was committed to Salem and there was no going back.

The launch occurred around 8:30 Thursday morning from Cashman park, Newburyport MA on the Merrimac river. I couldn't stay on the public dock so I motored out 200 yards and set the anchor to adjust the rigging, bend on the sails and get everything sorted out. The current was running strong and perpendicular to the dock which made boat handling interesting. The current grabbed the keel and it took a few of us to reel Jenny in to the dock. Gotta love full keels.

So the sails were bent on which is where I discovered my second glitch. The mainsail is fully battened but I was missing some little pieces to lock the battens in place. Its been so long that I forgot I needed them. I haven't found them anywhere and I think they were lost at the sailmakers two year ago when he was checking over all my sails and adding an insignia to the main.

I was ready to go around 12:30 but had to wait for the bridge opening at 1:00 which gave me time to sit down and enjoy lunch and 'settle in'. I was already feeling pretty rusty and I didn't have my sea legs at all. I was stumbling all over the place.

1:00 and I was under the bridge and motored out of the Merrimac river. Conditions at the mouth can be frightening at times but on Thursday at slack time they were quite tame. Clearing the outer marker I raised the sails in light winds and close reached while motor sailing. Sadly, there wasn't enough wind to truly sail but motoring for the whole afternoon helped restore my confidence in a motor that hadn't been run much in the past six years. The Atomic Four ran flawlessly the whole trip.

After about an hour I found myself pinching too much for the genoa so I started to roll it in when I discovered my third glitch. The furler kept jamming. Turns out, the top swivel was two feet below the halyard pulley which made a very small angle between the halyard and forestay. The instructions for the furler say to avoid this as it will cause the halyard to wrap and jam the furler. And that was exactly what was happening. The sails slides up the tracks as easily as a hanked on sail slides up the stay so it was easy enough to drop the genoa and tie it off to the lifelines.

I continued for three more hours until off of Cape Ann. I was wishing that I had not set up the reefing lines as the unbattened full roached main was flogging incesantly and the loose reefing lines were making it ten times worse. After rounding Cape Ann, the wind was directly on the nose and the flogging was becoming unbearable so I just took the main down and motored the remaining way into Southeast harbor in Gloucester. I don't have a fathometer installed and had to rely on the old fashioned leadline. I anchored around 7:00 at dead low tide in 9 feet of water.

I ate a simple dinner, cleaned up a bit, sat on my lovely Sporta-seat(a great gift from a friend - you gotta get one of these) and watched the sun set over the harbor. It was an interesting evening with me recalling my last sail/cruise in Jenny. So many memories (good ones) came back from my last three month cruise in the most patched up ugly looking boat with cheap temporary plywood interior panels that you could imagine.

Oh. The Lavac toilet worked beautifully and was a HUGE improvement over the previous system (a bucket). I found more loose fittings that needed tightening but the system just worked right away. Oddly, the toilet squeals when pumping and until the vaccuum is disapainted. In addition, when the boat rolls the toilet squeals. I will have to investigate that. Closing the seacocks makes the squeal go away.

With no lights other than a single kerosene lantern, I was in bed when the sun went down.

I was up again at 5:00 when the sun came up. A beautiful morning and I spent a bit of it sitting on the sporta seat watching the world go by. I missed my tea which was next to the camera back at the car and had to drink cold water for breakfast instead.

I tightened the lower shrouds again. While sailing the day before it was clear they were too loose. I also observed that, once again, I hadn't tightened the upper jumper stays enough. They are better than last time but I still don't have them right. I also rigged up a loop from some spare Sta-set line and attached it to the bottom of the genoa. This raised the genoa closer to the halyard pulley and now the genoa roller furls just fine. I will have to get a more permanent connection but I was relieved to see it work out. The new Harken Code 0 furler is awesome and I love it. The furler is on an extension that raises the drum a foot off the deck. My loop adds another 2 feet to the clearance between the sail and deck so now I have wonderul visibility under the genoa. More than I should have perhaps but its working.

I only needed a few hours to get to Salem so I was taking my time until I checked the weather and found out it was raining not far away and the thunderstorms moving in ahead of schedule. I quickly got cleaned up and underway around 9:00.

With the short sail and the wind once again close on the nose I didn't raise the main but instead motored all the way into Salem harbor. I did unfurl the genoa for awhile while I could and enjoyed the new furler a bit more. The boat will do 3 knots with the engine running at 1000 rpm and about 4 knots at 1600 rpm. The genoa gave me the five knot hull speed.

Half way into Salem the skies got really dark and the rain started to fall. I was a bit nervous coming into a strange rock strewn harbor in dark weather, with no GPS (incoveniently loaned to a friend and not returned in time) and rusty chart and compass skills. With the wind on the nose I was bashing into the small chop and getting soaked. I was really missing my dodger...

At some point my glasses were all covered with salt spray and when I flipped them up to clean them I realized it wasn't half as dark as I thought it was. It was just a pleasant light rain with some spray on an overcast day. Funny how a dark pair of sunglasses can can make everything look different.

The rain ended as I was in the final section of the approach and I motored into the inner harbor. When I called, they were not ready for me and didn't know where my mooring was and didn't have a pendant on it. I only called three times in the past week to make sure they were ready. Oh well. I set the engine at 400 rpm and soundlessly cruised around through the packed parking lot that is Salem harbor until they got everything sorted out. In general the people at Salem Water Taxi are great to work with. I am just surprised that with all the efforts I took to make sure things were ready, they were not. I did more than I needed to and enough to start to become a pain to them and still things weren't ready.

Once on the mooring I relaxed and had a nice celebratory lunch of cheese and crackers. Then I found my last glitch. I thought I had packed my sailcover but instead I had a cover for the dodger that was sold last year (wrong color, wrong shape). I have looked everywhere since then and I have a sneaky suspicion I saw the cover, thought it was the dodger cover, thought 'don't need that anymore' and dropped it into the trash. I hope I am wrong but I can't find the cover anywhere.

With thunderstorms predicted for the weekend I decided to just take the mainsail off. I wasn't too happy about that but I have spent every free day for the past few months on Jenny and I really wanted to be able to walk away and not think about her for a bit. Taking the sail off meant I could put her out of my mind (which hasn't really happened but oh well...)

So, Jenny is safely in her new home harbor of Salem MA and is looking quite nice, if overwhelmed, in the large parking lot mooring field. Sadly, you can't see her from the shoreline from any place I could find.

For the weekend, this blog is as close as I was going to get to the boat and I am enjoying some free time dealing with mundane household stuff and just nothing at all. Next week I expect to be back out at the boat.

And just an FYI, I don't really like reading blogs that go on about how 'we sailed the boat north around nameless island then had a pleasant reach across unknown bay before running home wing on wing through the such and such channel'. I will probably post a few times this summer and add some photos but I don't expect a lot of content to be added. I am just giving fair warning. Come Fall, I have more rebuilding plans for Jenny; mostly with the rigging but probably some galley work and maybe V-berth as well.

Have a good one Mates ;-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Me wet. Keel dry

Saturday was a total bust; poured buckets all day long. Everytime I thought it might be lightening up a bit, the downpours came right back like they were reading my mind. I spend the day sorting through my racks of old boat stuff trying to figure out what needs to go back on Jenny and what needs to go to the dump.

Sunday was a rainy day too but a lighter, drier rain and time is running short so I was out at the boatyard prepping for a launch this Thursday.

It was too wet for the camera and there wasn't much to show anyway. I did take a photo of my new Garhauer genoa sheet cars.


These are the ones that came with the boat. I think I see some improvement.

The rope loops was for hooking the bungie cord to. The other end of the bungie was connected to the lifelines which kept the snatch block upright and off the deck ... yech.

And I found my old mainsheet blocking. I am pretty happy with the Harken gear I have already replaced it with.

I still have a bunch of old phenolic blocks and stuff if anyone wants them for that 'retro' look. The stuff looks ancient. It might function but it won't be functioning on Jenny. Next year's number one project priority is to finish up all the little bits and pieces that make up the sail control systems. What I inherited was a cobbled together mess. Some of the big stuff has been sorted but what remains is too horrible to live beyond one more season.

So with everying a cobbling mess, I spent a good part of Sunday doing a 'dry run' of the rigging, making sure I had all the little bits and pieces that make the sails fly. I physically hooked all the sails up and ran the controls to make sure I wasn't going to be surprised at the launch. I am sure I will find a surprise or too but I am doing what I can...

In case the sails don't go I have a good running motor too. Just to make sure I ran it for half an hour. Everything seemed happy so that's encouraging. Oil pressure seems lower than I remember but its in the acceptable range; which for the Atomic Four is a pretty wide range.

After satisfying my fear of forgetting some critical piece I continued with the transformation of workshop to sailboat and hauled more stuff home and cleaned up. The closer I look the more sanding dirt I find. Its going to be a long time before Jenny is truly 'clean'. I had fleeting hopes of completing another project or two but the weather seems to have put the kabosh on that idea. I have the materials but I don't have the time. Oh well, there is always next year...

There are a million little things to do that aren't worth mentioning. I can only hope that someday launching won't be this big a production. I wonder how far away that 'someday' really is

Monday, June 6, 2011

Almost wet.

The launch is getting close and I think I am on schedule for it.

Saturday began with a thorough scrubbing; the first real wash in nearly two years. Then I gave the bottom a fresh coat of paint. That's when the picture was taken.

I spent the rest of the weekend doing minor little things that got the boat closer to being ready. Not much exciting.

My shortened tangs on the jumper struts worked out well. I installed the upper jumper stays and tensioned them.

I serviced the engine and it started right up. (after changing fuel filter, pumping fresh gasoline through the lines, pulling spark plugs and squirting some WD40 into the cylinders, changing the oil, replenishing the coolant, blah blah)

I will admit I spent a lot of time driving home for tools, hardware store for materials and back to the boatyard. Major projects in the boatyard away from my supplies and tools is a bad idea. Have I mentioned that before?

I moved the jackstands and blocking and painted a second coat of bottom paint to get the areas covered by the stands/blocking and just to fill in a few light spots.

Lots and lots of little details, nothing worth talking about or taking pictures of. Still waiting for good varnish weather.

Launch date is set for June 16 (Thursday) around 8:00. The plan will be to launch and then hang off the anchor (can't stay on the docks for more than a few minutes) while I rig the sailing gear. Then I will head out the Merrimac river and south around Cape Ann. Most likely I will stop somewhere around Cape Ann (Rockport/Gloucester) for the night and then have an easy morning run to Salem harbor Friday morning.

Then I might take the rest of the weekend off. I am super excited to sail the boat but I am also ready to take a break from the 7 day work schedule. Someone mentioned to me that it has been nearly 6 years since I last sailed Jenny. That was the end of a three month down east cruise to the Canadian border. Seems like yesterday but when I look at the old photos I don't recognize the boat at all. Back then Jenny was more than a bit rough- a bit hideous is more like it - but I still had a blast that year. Someday I hope to repeat a cruise of that length or longer. Just give me a few more years to get ready.

Next weekend will be more small detail work. Cleaning, packing, fussing over small details. Worrying and making my hair gray(er). That sort of thing.

Em tasol wantoks

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The long weekend

I was really looking forward to the extra day of boatwork on the holiday weekend. Unfortunately, my lawnmower was thinking the same thing and wanted to spend some quality time with me. I hate lawns. I hate mowing lawns. I spent half of Saturday trying to get the lawnmower to work (its my own fault, I never do any maintenance on it) before I gave up and went to the boatyard only to be interrupted by other stuff. Sunday, I again spent the morning working on the mower before giving the neighbor $20 to mow my lawn. Parts are on order. I would let the lawn go how it wants except the neighbors (and my landlord) would probably give me the boot. I hate lawns.

Anyway, someone might remember this scuff mark when I hauled the boat out a year and a half ago.

I managed to get that spot painted Sunday. I still haven't cleaned the hull this year. That is on next week's list.

I found this disposable paint sprayer to be quite useful. Its not a real paint gun but its like a good rattle can sprayer.

The weather was humid and windy and not very ideal for painting but Monday was supposed to be worse (and it was) so I went ahead and shot it. I am happy with it until I can get the whole hull repainted.

After painting, I went back to the head for the last 10 percent. I measured and checked and measured again and in the end just closed my eyes and drilled a hole for the waste tank vent. The toerail and the uneven hull/deck joint had me a bit worried as to where the hole would end up but in the end it came out right where I wanted it to.

The only snag was that I found the hull to be one and a half inches thick. I expected much thinner that high up. I was also cutting through my three layers of biax cloth from several years ago when I made new chainplate knees. Still, much thicker than anticipated and too thick for the fitting I had. I couldn't get any threads to show through on the inside. In the end, I took my two inch forstner drill bit and countersunk around the hole on the inside so that the nut could be recessed in far enough to find the threads on the fitting. I installed the fitting bedded in 4200 and connected the hoses. Simple. Except that those thick waste hoses don't like spreading over the barbed fittings and there wasn't an excess of room in the head closet. It took some grunting and sweating and a little swearing but eventually, it all got connected.

Oh, a friend mentioned checking the bolts where the bowl on the toilet attaches to the mounting pad. Sure enough, they were all loose. Not sure why but it seems to be a pattern with Lavac toilets. They are tight now.

Monday was a stifling day of high humidity and no wind. That seemed like the perfect time to crawl into engine room and prep the engine. I don't know how to take interesting pictures of oil being changed, impellers changed, anti-freeze topped off, engine washed off of general working dust etc so I will just leave that to the reader's imagination. I didn't spill much so that was an improvement over last time.

After that, I spent some time doing general cleanup and prep for the transition from worksite to sailboat. I hauled a bunch of stuff home, cleaned the bilge and generally straightened up.

Oh, I also 'tried' to finish up the mast rigging. Even after shortening my long threaded ends on the jumper shrouds they were still too long to get the rig tightened up. Turns out the threaded rods in the jumper struts have to be extended quite a ways to have much effect on the tension. If I had paid more attention in trigonometry class I would have realized this sooner. The jumper shrouds are still a bit long so the solution seems to be to shorten the tangs. Now I am wishing I had left well enough alone. Oh well, I am sure after I shorten the tangs everything will fit perfectly...